We are only a few weeks into Summer 2021, and with more than two months of high temperatures and extended daylight left, there are still endless opportunities to get active, explore, and whip up some fun healthy homemade recipes with Keys to Abundant Life.

ICYMI, Part I of the Healthy Homemade Summer Series was all about healthy homemade snacks for on-the-go summer adventures. In this installment, we’ll be sharing homemade recipes for fast food favorites. I’m sure you’re wondering, “Why would I cook fast food meals at home when I can buy them?”

The short answer is because cooking at home doesn’t have to be boring. It actually should be an enjoyable family activity. What better way to spice things up than to make your fast food faves at home with your own personal healthy twist.

The long answer is because there are several known benefits to eating home cooked meals. Despite popular belief, the benefits of cooking at home outweigh the convenience of fast food, especially since many of the popular menu items you love are not as healthy for you as you think. Many restaurants offer gluten-free, salt-free and sugar-free options, but unless you’re visiting a vegan restaurant, there are normally only a handful of healthy choices.

Here are three benefits to cooking at home:

  1. You can replace unhealthy ingredients and manage your portion sizes. When you cook at home, you control the amount of salt, sugar, and starch going into a recipe, determine the portions, the size of the plates used, the amount and types of fat added and used in the recipe, and control the cleanliness of your kitchen.

2. You can save money. We understand how eating in restaurants can be relaxing. You don’t have to shop, cook or clean up, and you can enjoy quality time with friends or family between bites. But restaurant and many fast food meals are more expensive than home cooked meals.

3. Interactive family time. Cooking in the kitchen with your kids and loved ones can be a rewarding end to a long day. Many of our favorite memories start in the kitchen, from learning to make our mother’s favorite dishes, to Sunday meals cooked to perfection by our grandmothers. Don’t underestimate the quality time that cooking gives. After all, cooking is a great way to show someone how much you love them!

Ready to give it a try? Check out Keys’ homemade alternatives to your favorite fast food meals!